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1.
Prev Chronic Dis ; 19: E14, 2022 03 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1761091

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Most US businesses are small, yet they employ almost half of the nation's workforce. Literature is limited about how small employers (those with 20-250 employees) have made decisions about operating their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. We sought to learn how employers made these decisions, what information sources they used, what information they wanted, and to what extent they worked with or used information from their local health department. METHODS: We conducted qualitative, semistructured interviews with 26 employers in Washington State, from August through October 2020. Employers were recruited from 7 counties (4 urban and 3 rural) that were experiencing either higher or lower COVID-19 case rates than Washington State overall. RESULTS: Employers relied heavily on national government resources to make decisions about how to operate their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Few employers had relationships with or turned to their local health departments for information or support. Employers wanted information about COVID-19 safety that was specific to their business operations and industry. Employers also described the emotional toll of COVID-19 and the challenge of trying to make high-stakes decisions with rapidly evolving information. CONCLUSION: Small employers showed little awareness of their local health departments and the information and assistance they could provide. Local health departments could increase their visibility and build relationships with small employers by partnering with them on value-added services such as workplace health promotion. Establishing these relationships could support more rapid collaboration between local health departments and small employers during future public health crises.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Small Business , Washington/epidemiology , Workplace
3.
Clin Infect Dis ; 74(6): 1089-1092, 2022 03 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1703666

ABSTRACT

Across 20 vaccine breakthrough cases detected at our institution, all 20 (100%) infections were due to variants of concern (VOCs) and had a median Ct of 20.2 (IQR, 17.1-23.3). When compared with 5174 contemporaneous samples sequenced in our laboratory, VOCs were significantly enriched among breakthrough infections (P < .05).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Base Sequence , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Washington/epidemiology
4.
Front Public Health ; 9: 782296, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572344

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Case investigation and contact tracing are important tools to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2, particularly when implemented efficiently. Our objective was to evaluate participation in and timeliness of COVID-19 contact tracing and whether these measures changed over time. Methods: We retrospectively assessed COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing surveillance data from the Washington State centralized program for August 1-31, 2020 and October 1-31, 2020. We combined SARS-CoV-2 testing reports with contact tracing data to compare completeness, reporting of contacts, and program timeliness. Results: For August and October respectively, 4,600 (of 12,521) and 2,166 (of 16,269) individuals with COVID-19 were referred to the state program for case investigation. Investigators called 100% of referred individuals; 65% (August) and 76% (October) were interviewed. Of individuals interviewed, 33% reported contacts in August and 45% in October, with only mild variation by age, sex, race/ethnicity, and urbanicity. In August, 992 individuals with COVID-19 reported a total of 2,584 contacts (mean, 2.6), and in October, 739 individuals reported 2,218 contacts (mean, 3.0). Among contacts, 86% and 78% participated in interviews for August and October. The median time elapsed from specimen collection to contact interview was 4 days in August and 3 days in October, and from symptom onset to contact interview was 7 days in August and 6 days in October. Conclusions: While contact tracing improved with time, the proportion of individuals disclosing contacts remained below 50% and differed minimally by demographic characteristics. The longest time interval occurred between symptom onset and test result notification. Improving elicitation of contacts and timeliness of contact tracing may further decrease SARS-CoV-2 transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Contact Tracing , Humans , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Washington/epidemiology
5.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 7063, 2021 12 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1550283

ABSTRACT

Serological testing remains a passive component of the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a transmission model, we examine how serological testing could have enabled seropositive individuals to increase their relative levels of social interaction while offsetting transmission risks. We simulate widespread serological testing in New York City, South Florida, and Washington Puget Sound and assume seropositive individuals partially restore their social contacts. Compared to no intervention, our model suggests that widespread serological testing starting in late 2020 would have averted approximately 3300 deaths in New York City, 1400 deaths in South Florida and 11,000 deaths in Washington State by June 2021. In all sites, serological testing blunted subsequent waves of transmission. Findings demonstrate the potential benefit of widespread serological testing, had it been implemented in the pre-vaccine era, and remain relevant now amid the potential for emergence of new variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Serological Testing/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/diagnosis , Pandemics/prevention & control , Physical Distancing , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Computer Simulation , Florida/epidemiology , Humans , New York City/epidemiology , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Washington/epidemiology
6.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 70(46): 1608-1612, 2021 Nov 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1524680

ABSTRACT

Population-based rates of infection with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and related health care utilization help determine estimates of COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness and averted illnesses, especially since the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant began circulating in June 2021. Among members aged ≥12 years of a large integrated health care delivery system in Oregon and Washington, incidence of laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, emergency department (ED) visits, and hospitalizations were calculated by COVID-19 vaccination status, vaccine product, age, race, and ethnicity. Infection after full vaccination was defined as a positive SARS-CoV-2 molecular test result ≥14 days after completion of an authorized COVID-19 vaccination series.* During the July-September 2021 surveillance period, SARS-CoV-2 infection occurred among 4,146 of 137,616 unvaccinated persons (30.1 per 1,000 persons) and 3,009 of 344,848 fully vaccinated persons (8.7 per 1,000). Incidence was higher among unvaccinated persons than among vaccinated persons across all demographic strata. Unvaccinated persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection were more than twice as likely to receive ED care (18.5%) or to be hospitalized (9.0%) than were vaccinated persons with COVID-19 (8.1% and 3.9%, respectively). The crude mortality rate was also higher among unvaccinated patients (0.43 per 1,000) than in fully vaccinated patients (0.06 per 1,000). These data support CDC recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination, including additional and booster doses, to protect individual persons and communities against COVID-19, including illness and hospitalization caused by the Delta variant (1).


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Emergency Service, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Child , Female , Humans , Incidence , Male , Middle Aged , Oregon/epidemiology , Vaccination/statistics & numerical data , Washington/epidemiology , Young Adult
7.
J Pediatr ; 238: 317-320, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1481892

ABSTRACT

Reports have emerged of myocarditis and pericarditis predominantly after the second dose of the coronavirus disease messenger ribonucleic acid vaccine. We describe 13 patients aged 12-17 years who presented with chest pain within 1 week after their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine and were found to have elevated serum troponin levels and evidence of myopericarditis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , COVID-19/prevention & control , Myocarditis/etiology , Pericarditis/etiology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccination/adverse effects , Vaccines, Synthetic/adverse effects , Adolescent , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Female , Humans , Incidence , Male , Myocarditis/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pericarditis/epidemiology , Retrospective Studies , Washington/epidemiology
9.
JAMA Netw Open ; 4(10): e2124946, 2021 10 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1460117

ABSTRACT

Importance: Machine learning could be used to predict the likelihood of diagnosis and severity of illness. Lack of COVID-19 patient data has hindered the data science community in developing models to aid in the response to the pandemic. Objectives: To describe the rapid development and evaluation of clinical algorithms to predict COVID-19 diagnosis and hospitalization using patient data by citizen scientists, provide an unbiased assessment of model performance, and benchmark model performance on subgroups. Design, Setting, and Participants: This diagnostic and prognostic study operated a continuous, crowdsourced challenge using a model-to-data approach to securely enable the use of regularly updated COVID-19 patient data from the University of Washington by participants from May 6 to December 23, 2020. A postchallenge analysis was conducted from December 24, 2020, to April 7, 2021, to assess the generalizability of models on the cumulative data set as well as subgroups stratified by age, sex, race, and time of COVID-19 test. By December 23, 2020, this challenge engaged 482 participants from 90 teams and 7 countries. Main Outcomes and Measures: Machine learning algorithms used patient data and output a score that represented the probability of patients receiving a positive COVID-19 test result or being hospitalized within 21 days after receiving a positive COVID-19 test result. Algorithms were evaluated using area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) and area under the precision recall curve (AUPRC) scores. Ensemble models aggregating models from the top challenge teams were developed and evaluated. Results: In the analysis using the cumulative data set, the best performance for COVID-19 diagnosis prediction was an AUROC of 0.776 (95% CI, 0.775-0.777) and an AUPRC of 0.297, and for hospitalization prediction, an AUROC of 0.796 (95% CI, 0.794-0.798) and an AUPRC of 0.188. Analysis on top models submitting to the challenge showed consistently better model performance on the female group than the male group. Among all age groups, the best performance was obtained for the 25- to 49-year age group, and the worst performance was obtained for the group aged 17 years or younger. Conclusions and Relevance: In this diagnostic and prognostic study, models submitted by citizen scientists achieved high performance for the prediction of COVID-19 testing and hospitalization outcomes. Evaluation of challenge models on demographic subgroups and prospective data revealed performance discrepancies, providing insights into the potential bias and limitations in the models.


Subject(s)
Algorithms , Benchmarking , COVID-19/diagnosis , Clinical Decision Rules , Crowdsourcing , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Machine Learning , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Area Under Curve , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19 Testing , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Models, Statistical , Prognosis , ROC Curve , Severity of Illness Index , Washington/epidemiology , Young Adult
10.
Am J Prev Med ; 61(5 Suppl 1): S16-S25, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1453987

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: In 2019, the District of Columbia recorded a 20-year low rate in new HIV infections but also had near-record numbers of gonorrhea and chlamydia infections. District of Columbia Department of Health has supported numerous forms of community-based in-person screening but not direct at-home testing. METHODS: In summer 2020, the District of Columbia Department of Health launched GetCheckedDC.org for District of Columbia residents to order home-based oral HIV antibody test and urogenital, pharyngeal, and rectal chlamydia and gonorrhea tests. Initial and follow-up surveys were completed by individuals for both test modalities. RESULTS: A retrospective analysis was conducted for the first 5 months of the program. During that period, 1,089 HIV and 1,262 gonorrhea and chlamydia tests (535 urogenital, 520 pharyngeal, 207 rectal) were ordered by 1,245 District of Columbia residents. The average age was 33.1 (median=31, range=14-78) years; 51.6% of requestors identified as Black; 39.3% identified as men who have sex with men; 16.2% reported no form of insurance; and 8.1% and 10.4% reported never being testing for HIV and sexually transmitted infections, respectively. More than half of people requesting tests reported convenience and COVID-19 as the reasons. In total, 39.5% of sexually transmitted infection tests were returned; 7.22% of people testing for sexually transmitted infections received a positive result, and 10.35% of rectal tests were positive. No individuals reported a positive HIV self-test that was confirmed; 98.5% of respondents said that they would recommend the HIV self-test kit. CONCLUSIONS: Mail-out HIV and sexually transmitted infection testing was readily taken up among high-priority demographics within a diverse, urban, high-morbidity jurisdiction during the COVID-19 pandemic. Extragenital testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia should be included in all at-home screening tests given the high positivity rate.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Chlamydia Infections , Gonorrhea , HIV Infections , Sexual and Gender Minorities , Sexually Transmitted Diseases , Adult , Chlamydia Infections/diagnosis , Chlamydia Infections/epidemiology , District of Columbia/epidemiology , Gonorrhea/diagnosis , Gonorrhea/epidemiology , HIV Infections/diagnosis , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Male , Mass Screening , Pandemics , Postal Service , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Sexually Transmitted Diseases/diagnosis , Sexually Transmitted Diseases/epidemiology , Washington/epidemiology
11.
J Med Virol ; 93(10): 5931-5941, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1432428

ABSTRACT

Real-time epidemiological tracking of variants of concern (VOCs) can help limit the spread of more contagious forms of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), such as those containing the N501Y mutation. Typically, genetic sequencing is required to be able to track VOCs in real-time. However, sequencing can take time and may not be accessible in all laboratories. Genotyping by RT-ddPCR offers an alternative to rapidly detect VOCs through discrimination of specific alleles such as N501Y, which is associated with increased transmissibility and virulence. Here we describe the first cases of the B.1.1.7 lineage of SARS-CoV-2 detected in Washington State by using a combination of reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), RT-ddPCR, and next-generation sequencing. We initially screened 1035 samples positive for SARS-CoV-2 by our CDC-based laboratory-developed assay using ThermoFisher's multiplex RT-PCR COVID-19 assay over four weeks from late December 2020 to early January 2021. S gene target failures (SGTF) were subsequently assayed by RT-ddPCR to confirm four mutations within the S gene associated with the B.1.1.7 lineage: a deletion at amino acid (AA) 69-70 (ACATGT), deletion at AA 145, (TTA), N501Y mutation (TAT), and S982A mutation (GCA). All four targets were detected in two specimens; follow-up sequencing revealed a total of 9 mutations in the S gene and phylogenetic clustering within the B.1.1.7 lineage. Next, we continued screening samples for SGTF detecting 23 additional B.1.1.7 variants by RT-ddPCR and confirmed by sequencing. As VOCs become increasingly prevalent, molecular diagnostic tools like RT-ddPCR can be utilized to quickly, accurately, and sensitively distinguish more contagious lineages of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Alleles , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Genotype , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Mutation , Phylogeny , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Time Factors , Washington/epidemiology
13.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 69(17): 521-522, 2020 May 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389843

ABSTRACT

In the United States, approximately 1.4 million persons access emergency shelter or transitional housing each year (1). These settings can pose risks for communicable disease spread. In late March and early April 2020, public health teams responded to clusters (two or more cases in the preceding 2 weeks) of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in residents and staff members from five homeless shelters in Boston, Massachusetts (one shelter); San Francisco, California (one); and Seattle, Washington (three). The investigations were performed in coordination with academic partners, health care providers, and homeless service providers. Investigations included reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction testing at commercial and public health laboratories for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, over approximately 1-2 weeks for residents and staff members at the five shelters. During the same period, the team in Seattle, Washington, also tested residents and staff members at 12 shelters where a single case in each had been identified. In Atlanta, Georgia, a team proactively tested residents and staff members at two shelters with no known COVID-19 cases in the preceding 2 weeks. In each city, the objective was to test all shelter residents and staff members at each assessed facility, irrespective of symptoms. Persons who tested positive were transported to hospitals or predesignated community isolation areas.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Homeless Persons/statistics & numerical data , Housing/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Boston/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Cities , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2 , San Francisco/epidemiology , Washington/epidemiology
14.
Clin Infect Dis ; 71(9): 2513-2515, 2020 12 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387735
16.
PLoS One ; 16(8): e0255294, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1352703

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced novel stressors into the lives of youth. Identifying factors that protect against the onset of psychopathology in the face of these stressors is critical. We examine a wide range of factors that may protect youth from developing psychopathology during the pandemic. We assessed pandemic-related stressors, internalizing and externalizing psychopathology, and potential protective factors by combining two longitudinal samples of children and adolescents (N = 224, 7-10 and 13-15 years) assessed prior to the pandemic, during the stay-at-home orders, and six months later. We evaluated how family behaviors during the stay-at-home orders were related to changes in psychopathology during the pandemic, identified factors that moderate the association of pandemic-related stressors with psychopathology, and determined whether associations varied by age. Internalizing and externalizing psychopathology increased substantially during the pandemic. Higher exposure to pandemic-related stressors was associated with increases in internalizing and externalizing symptoms early in the pandemic and six months later. Having a structured routine, less passive screen time, lower exposure to news media about the pandemic, and to a lesser extent more time in nature and getting adequate sleep were associated with reduced psychopathology. The association between pandemic-related stressors and psychopathology was reduced for youths with limited passive screen time and was absent for children, but not adolescents, with lower news media consumption related to the pandemic. We provide insight into simple, practical steps families can take to promote resilience against mental health problems in youth during the COVID-19 pandemic and protect against psychopathology following pandemic-related stressors.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Mental Health , Adaptation, Psychological , Adolescent , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Child , Female , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sleep , Stress, Psychological , Washington/epidemiology
18.
Int J Drug Policy ; 98: 103384, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1345316

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Following emergency declarations related to COVID-19 in the United States, many states issued stay-at-home orders and designated essential business categories. Most states allowed medical and/or non-medical adult-use cannabis retailers to remain open. This study assesses changes in cannabis sales across Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington before and during the pandemic. METHODS: Pre-tax sales data from cannabis marketplaces in four states were analyzed to identify trends from January 2018-December 2020. Mean monthly sales and relative percent change in mean monthly sales were compared by state from April-December (coinciding with the pandemic) in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Differences were assessed using the nonparametric Mann-Whitney-U test. RESULTS: Mean monthly cannabis sales in all four states were higher during the pandemic period in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Sales reached a three-year peak in Washington in May 2020 and in Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon in July 2020. From April-December, the percent change in mean monthly sales from 2019 to 2020 was significantly higher than 2018-2019 in all four states, though Alaska saw similar increases between 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. CONCLUSION: To date, cannabis sales in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington have increased more during the COVID-19 pandemic than in the previous two years. In light of these increases, data monitoring by states and CDC is warranted to understand how patterns of use are changing, which populations are demonstrating changes in use, and how such changes may affect substance use and related public health outcomes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cannabis , Adult , Alaska/epidemiology , Colorado/epidemiology , Humans , Oregon/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States , Washington/epidemiology
20.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 15194, 2021 07 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1327218

ABSTRACT

We present a modified age-structured SIR model based on known patterns of social contact and distancing measures within Washington, USA. We find that population age-distribution has a significant effect on disease spread and mortality rate, and contribute to the efficacy of age-specific contact and treatment measures. We consider the effect of relaxing restrictions across less vulnerable age-brackets, comparing results across selected groups of varying population parameters. Moreover, we analyze the mitigating effects of vaccinations and examine the effectiveness of age-targeted distributions. Lastly, we explore how our model can applied to other states to reflect social-distancing policy based on different parameters and metrics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Adolescent , Adult , Age Distribution , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Child , Child, Preschool , Humans , Infant , Middle Aged , Physical Distancing , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Social Interaction , Washington/epidemiology , Young Adult
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